Finally Fairmeadows got the chance to go head to head against the very best schools from South Derbyshire in the District Finals. Basketballs skills were of a high quality and so was the level of commitment from the Fairmeadows players as they determindly fought and played their way to the final.
With three teams having already progressed through the previous tournament it was still going to be difficult with Etwal, Pennine Way and Hilton all providing a stern test for the Meadows players. Massive defence, silky skills and accurate shooting were the hallmarks of Fairmeadows play and it was wonderful to see.
Fairmeadows 1 dominated their group - ruthlessly disposing of tough opponents and bitter rivals Etwal with a huge perfromance from Harvey Benbow-Pullen in defence and masses of energy in midfield. Fairmeadows 3 lost out to Etwal and Fairmeadows 1 despite brave performances and that saw Fairmeadows 1 through to the final.
In the other group Fairmeadows 2 tipped off against last years champions Pennine Way and dominated the play from start to finish. The general play was superb but the finishing was not always spot on which did not bode well for the final...int heir second match they disposed of Hilton with fierce grit but their tougher group seemed to have taken a toll on the players.
In the final Mr. Reeves asked both teams to remember that they were basically one team, and that they should play the game for fun and with skill - not too rough. An instruction that was completely ignored and saw no less than four players clock up injuries as the final became a fusion of Basketball in attack and rugby in defence. Friendship was traded for victory and no mercy was shown as players swapped tough tackles until the game hung precariously at 4-4.
With ten seconds to go and the ref counting down the ball was intercepted in attack and a long pass sent downfield. The disciplined Sophie McMahon was waiting and took the catch well. As Sam Thorpe and Bradley Allsobrook desperately raced back in defence Sophie cooly took aim and used her experience in the netball team to gracefully sail the ball into the hoop and sending the rest of Fairmeadows 1 to paradise with her heady celebration which saw her dance around cheering at the top of her voice...she had won the final and the medals and the bragging rights for her team.
There was no shame in it for Fairmeadows 2 who had matched their opponents in every way - and however it ended Fairmeadows would win. The county finals are the next stop for this talented team and perhaps they will emulate the success of Mitchell Knight, Hayley Holden, Danny Russell, Ainsley Ward, Jake McLaren and Arran Dolman, all of whom claimed third spot and a bronze medal at the finals in 2009.
The problem facing Mr. Reeves is out if those 11 excellent players...who will stay ... and who will get to go?